Thursday 22 August 2019

Fighting spirit: O'Keeffe gets human rights prize

Louise O’Keeffe is the Spirit of Mother Jones Award recipient for 2019. Photo: Michael Mac Sweeeney/Provision
Louise O’Keeffe is the Spirit of Mother Jones Award recipient for 2019. Photo: Michael Mac Sweeeney/Provision

Ralph Riegel

Victims' rights campaigner Louise O'Keeffe has been honoured with the prestigious Spirit of Mother Jones award.

The award is designed to honour those who fearlessly fight for justice and basic human rights in modern society.

Ms O'Keeffe became a household name over the past two decades with her courageous battle for the rights of those abused in primary schools.

The west Cork mother fought High Court, Supreme Court and finally European Court actions to secure redress for victims.

Five years ago, the European Court ruled Ireland was in breach of the European Convention on Human Rights over its failure to put in place a mechanism to protect schoolchildren from sexual abuse.

Ms O'Keeffe admitted she was "absolutely thrilled" with the honour and dedicated it to victims everywhere.

The award is named in memory of Mother Jones, the famous US workers' rights campaigner who was born Mary Harris in Cork in 1837.

Mother Jones was a renowned figure in her day and, at one time, was labelled "the most dangerous woman in America" by the US business establishment.

Ms O'Keeffe is now the first Cork person to receive the Spirit of Mother Jones award.

Irish Independent

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